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FCC Issues Directives to Facilitate 5G Network Deployment

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The Federal Communications Commission has issued new directives that aim to reduce regulatory restrictions on the establishment of infrastructure necessary for the deployment and adoption of 5G networks in the U.S.

The FCC’s new issuance clarifies the standard that the agency will use when determining whether a state or local law effectively prohibits the provision of telecommunications services, thereby violating Sections 253 and 332 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

The issuance also specifies the standard for the agency to determine, first, whether state or local fees imposed on the installation of Small Wireless Facilities run afoul of the same Act; and, second, whether non-fee provisions, such as those concerning aesthetic considerations, produce the same effect.

The new directives also impose time limits on local governments when reviewing applications for the setting up of Small Wireless Facilities.

A failure to act within the time limit, however, does not automatically result in an application being approved.

“Rather, missing the deadline also constitutes a presumptive prohibition,” the FCC said, adding, “We would thus expect any locality that misses the deadline to issue any necessary permits or authorizations without further delay.”